You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think
– A. A. Milne
You will not be surprised to know that the national crime statistics for 2013/14 show that carjacking is up for the second year in a row. The top 5 carjacking crime precincts in S.A. are: Booysens, Pinetown, Moffatview, Roodepoort and Rietgat, as reported on the website for the ISS (Institute of Security Studies).
It is becoming increasingly clear that carjacking is a lucrative business, with organised gangs making a good living from this form of crime and little incentive for them to stop.
Based on a 2012 Victims of crime survey 58.9% of cars stolen were stolen at home, 9.8% of cars stolen were outside an office, shop / work, 26.6% of theft occurred in mornings, 21.3% of theft occurred between midnight and dawn.
Bearing all the above in mind, it may not be a matter of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ you are carjacked, you need to keep a clear head and get through the situation with as minimum of impact to you as possible.
In order to do this, arm yourself with knowledge. Remain calm and do not try to be a hero or challenge the carjackers, if confronted. Do not show aggression in your body language (i.e. no clenched fists or prolonged eye contact) or make any sudden movements.
Rather hand the keys and car over, keeping your hands open and do what the carjacker tells you to do. If your children are in the car, ask the carjacker if they can exit the car whilst you hand over the keys.
The most effective way for you to control the situation is to be as observant (but unobtrusive) as possible, so that you can gather as much accurate information about the carjacking as possible. Using this information, you can give a full and detailed report to the SAPS as soon as possible after the event, to assist them in apprehending and convicting the carjackers.
Always keeping in mind that your life (and/or the life of others in the car) is worth far more than the loss of your car or any other valuables within the car.
5 Key habits to develop
- Be vigilant and alert (at all times)
- Be co-operative (do exactly as instructed by the carjacker)
- Do not speak or move too fast (the carjacker may be as nervous, or even more so than you, do not give them cause to react without thinking)
- Report accurate details to the SAPS as soon as possible (registration number, make, model, colour, identifying factors etc.)
- Install a tracking device in your car and on your cell phone (activate both once carjackers leave)
Draw from your inner core of strength & knowledge to overcome your circumstances
Image Credit: Author